Barely Any Suspense But The Underlying Theme…

48fc036cb417fe6596d4b637051434f414f4141.jpgCarl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer. That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted. Before his admission to a care home for dementia. Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip. Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . Because Carl’s past has finally caught up with him. The young woman driving the car is convinced her passenger is guilty, and that he’s killed other young women. Including her sister Rachel. Now they’re following the trail of his photographs, his clues, his alleged crimes. To see if he remembers any of it. Confesses to any of it. To discover what really happened to Rachel. Has Carl truly forgotten what he did or is he just pretending? Perhaps he’s guilty of nothing and she’s the liar. Either way in driving him into the Texan wilderness she’s taking a terrible risk. For if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s alone in the most dangerous place of all . . . (From Goodreads)

I was psyched for this one! I love these kinds of books that keep you guessing and sets you on the edge of suspense. Among other things that are prevalent throughout the novel. Unfortunately, I think I was just a little too hyped over this book.

Although the plot had some good moments and the occasional suspense, I found it lackluster and often wondering where this is going to take me. I wish the mystery and suspense was more heightened. It was a very flat plot with not much going for it except the mysterious bits and even  then, it feels like you hit what you think it was a climax only for it to die down quick and we’re back to the same flat plot line again. It feels like a long dreary car ride with people you don’t like. (The entire book they’re frequently on the road, so this relates.)

When all the mystery is revealed – it was all right. Yet it felt like a simple shrug of the shoulder and it was off to go back home. It was a bit frustrating, and it wasn’t anything to be surprised about. Nothing creeping from out of the blue, or anything to blind side you. It’s similar to the feeling when you are opening a gift and you already know what it is. There’s not much element of surprise or much feeling to go with it.

However, the one theme I did like was the one with dementia. It’s pictured with accuracy and this aspect of the book was well written. You can feel the high strung energy and  the main character feeling ready to snap when Carl starts going off track in his mind and unfortunately that’s really how it is when dealing with someone who is suffering from this disease. It’s extremely hard to maintain your patience but at the same time you are realizing it’s not their fault. Her relationship with Carl throughout the novel perfectly depicts this and because of this dynamic, this was why I stuck through and read the book.

This book could have been better in the suspense area. Overall the plot is pretty much lackluster and had few suspenseful moments. Worth reading? I say read for the character relationship and development. Otherwise those that want a scare or a surprise won’t find any of that in here at all.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

I was given this ARC through a contest I won. Thank you!

Advertisements

The Hidden by Jessica Verday

The HiddenAbbey knows that Caspian is her destiny. Theirs is a bond that transcends even death. But as Abbey finally learns the full truth about the dark fate that links her to Caspian and ties them both to the town of Sleepy Hollow, she suddenly has some very hard choices to make. Caspian may be the love of her life, but is that love worth dying for? Beautifully spun, emotionally gripping, and irresistibly romantic, The Hidden will leave you breathless. (From Goodreads)

I loved The Hollow and The Haunted. Both stories were well written with rich detailed settings, beautiful descriptions, and the characters were also very well done. Overall those two books were excellent. So. Of course my expectations for The Hidden were high as I assumed it would be just as awesome as the first two.

Okay. So the romance between Abbey and Caspian was beautifully written. They were just about perfect together. They had the chemistry going and Caspian was such a sweetheart (the tuxedo moment anyone?). It was like the ideal boyfriend that just about every girl would love to have.

Now we get to the sticky parts. I’m not sure what was going on in the third and final book but why was there so many new elements introduced??? it just seems a bit late to be introducing these new plot hooks and characters isn’t it? why wasn’t this in at least the second book and not crammed all in the conclusion? It just seems like these new characters were created just for the sake of convenience.

((Warning, spoiler ahead. Stop if you haven’t read the book yet))

Then we come down to the part where it really gets a bit ugly. Abbey had everything going for her. EVERYTHING. Except of course choosing between the boyfriend and a life owning your own store with massive opportunities ahead. I can’t say agree with her choice. Seriously? I understand you love the guy so much and you’d do anything to be with him (literally…like dying). Is that really a wise choice? Sure Caspian’s a great guy but to throw away all that, die just to be with him? I was at a massive mind blowing standstill between the feeling of: ‘did that just really happen?’ ‘you seriously chose to die to be with your boyfriend?’ and then the feeling of: ‘I can’t believe you did this, what the…MOTHER FATHER GENTLEMAN, did you actually do what you just did’ to slapping the book closed and cursing for a good solid few minutes non stop.

No I did not agree with her choice.
And this is why I’m starting to hate it when a series is about to wrap themselves up. Everything is rushed just to finish this book, slap in some strange new elements and rush everything in the last novel only to end it this way. Gee. Thanks for making me wait for an ending that feels like a giant slap in face when I greatly enjoyed the first two books.

why have endings to such great trilogies become so…..bad????

I give it a 4/10

Sleepless by Thomas Fahy

SleeplessEmma Montgomery hasn’t been sleeping well. She has gruesome nightmares, and when she wakes up, she isn’t where she was when she fell asleep. And she’s not the only one. Many of the students at Saint Opportuna High are having nightmares and sleepwalking too. When teenagers start turning up dead, Emma and her friends start to wonder if they might have had anything to do with the deaths. They need to stick together to keep themselves awake…and to figure out what’s causing them to kill in their sleep. (From Amazon.ca)

This book caught my attention because of its’ cover. I was expecting something thrilling and maybe something with paranormal characteristics in the book.

I was wrong. What I thought was going to be a thrilling read turned about to be not so scary or thrilling at all. The writing style felt like you were reading a screenplay (or something close like it). The plot wasn’t too bad but it could have been better, and none of the characters really stood out for me.

One part I did not understand at all was the addition of the New Orleans voodoo thing. I thought to myself, hey this is going to get interesting. Nope. I don’t even know WHY it was added into the plot. Was it to deceive the reader into thinking voodoo was involved??? NOTHING was done with it and it turned out just to be a page filler.

When the big mystery was finally revealed, the ending was all right, but not the greatest and by that time I was rather disenchanted with the whole novel and I wanted it to be over and done with. It’s rather unfortunate but so much more could have been done with this plot and book but looked as if not much effort was put into it at all.

None of the characters really stood out for me. The romance between Emma and Jake wasn’t that great and I couldn’t really connect or have attachments to anyone. They were all cardboard like with barely any personality at all – although I’d have to say Jake was the one with the most personality at best.

Aside from the cover, this book could have been made into a movie and would have turned out much better. It’s a short book, so it can be read in one sitting (however because the plot was a bit slow to begin with it took me longer than usual). I would say pass this on unless you’ve no idea what to read next.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

DivergentIn Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. (From Amazon.ca)

Don’t get me wrong here. I loved the plot. It had a lot of potential to be something as interesting and intriguing as The Hunger Games. The five factions was indeed interesting, and I liked how you had to choose which faction to devote to for the rest of your life. So this part was all great and dandy. Then it falls short. So, I ask why is Chicago divided into these factions? what happened? why are these factions divided into these virtues? how did it all start? what about the factionless? how many belong there? why are they outcasted like that? etc etc… the list of questions started to get longer, and longer. Then it hit me, there is NO world building in the book. There is no background information. You’re smack in the middle of a dystopia and you don’t know how the setting got there. This bugged me. Immensely. I like my background information. If it’s going to be where it will all be explained in other future novels, then that’s silly. What’s the point of the first novel then? the first novel in a series is to explain how the setting came to be.

So you’re thrown in with Beatrice, who learns how to survive in the faction she chose. This part of the book wasn’t so bad, I enjoyed learning how they struggled to survive to be part of the faction. She undergoes a complete transformation, which, makes sense. Yet, this cliche where a nice meek girl who’s bored of her faction, joins another one and becomes an ultra bad girl who can fight, talk back, manages to get several tattoos and gets a complete makeover is overdone and cheesy. I tolerated this only because I somewhat liked how she managed to fight back against her bullies – so she does have a spine, and she doesn’t whine about it. Oh and let’s not GO THERE where she becomes a female version of Rambo and suddenly becomes the Girl of Steel. This could become a B movie any time now.

Then Four arrives into the story. By Jeebus what is it with current YA novels where names or nicknames are just utterly ridiculous? I understand, it does make sense once it’s been revealed why he’s called that but what? so the characters just didn’t have enough creativity to make up a better nickname than bloody Four?!.

I’d have to say, the characters in this book aren’t necessarily likable. I tried to like Tris, and I did at some points of the book her moments of revenge were quite satisfying. I couldn’t like Four at all because I felt he was just a cardboard character and a typical “hard but soft in the inside” personality. The romance between the two of them wasn’t working for me. They had no chemistry and it got to the point where it became supremely cheesy and almost nauseating to read both of them get all lovey dovey. It just did not work for me.

I don’t know if I’m going to read further into the series. I really did like the plot. It was a good idea and had lots of potential. Yet it wasn’t executed as well as I thought. The REAL action does not start until much much later in the novel so I wonder was 500 pages really necessary for this book? The ending, was cheesy, so cheesy you could use it to make nachos. The characters weren’t so likable and the romance just did not have the chemistry required. I’d have to say, this hasn’t topped The Hunger Games, and I stress to readers out there to read Hunger Games instead of this one. It’s so much better. I can’t believe the hype over this book, then again, maybe it’s best not to believe in all the hype after all.

I give it a 4 out of 10

Side Note: Albert? wtf man?! why did you do that?

Tris: jeebus woman, what you did at the end towards Magnus? jeebus cripes settle down before you swallow him whole. Did Four suddenly become your property and he can’t suddenly defend himself? what kind of freaking Dauntless is that then? a whimpy one that’s what. However I congratulate you Tris, you officially made Four your bitch.

Four: you suck. Enough said. Patch from the Hush Hush series could eat you whole for breakfast.

The Thirteen by Susie Moloney

The ThirteenHaven Woods is suburban heaven, a great place to raise a family. It’s close to the city, quiet, with great schools and its own hospital right up the road. Property values are climbing. The streets are clean, people keep their yards really nicely. It’s fairly pet friendly, though barking dogs are not welcomed. The crime rate is practically non-existent, unless you count the odd human sacrifice, dismemberment, animal attack, demon rape and blood atonement. When Paula Wittmore goes home to Haven Woods to care for a suddenly ailing mother, she brings her daughter and a pile of emotional baggage. She also brings the last chance for twelve of her mother’s closest frenemies, who like to keep their numbers at thirteen. And her daughter, young, innocent, is a worthy gift to the darkness. A circle of friends will support you through bad times. A circle of witches can drag you through hell. (From Amazon.ca)

Ohhhhh. I wanted to like this one. I really did. When I read what this book was about, I immediately went to take it out of the library and giggled with glee as I didn’t have to put it on hold or anything. It did have it’s great moments! I was all ready for a really nice dark gothy read! I loved the idea of a cat filled town (furbabies!!!) where things aren’t what they seem. The town had a nice dark theme to it, almost akin to Witches of Eastwick mixed with Stepford Wives theme. So that in itself was great. Audra’s curse was great! I thought that was really interesting and fun to read. It’s most certainly a well descriptive curse.

Each of the ‘witches’ and what they wished for was also interesting, but of course everything comes at a price. When things do get messy, the consequences are severe. This was also fun to read – especially when they all go into a panic. The panic gets contagious and they’re suddenly resembling frantic chickens.

Then…the story itself just falls apart.

What is it with this dogs vs cats theme? that really bugged me. It really played on that a little too much and the old adage of cats being the ‘witches familiar’ is really really old. That bugged me because I knew in the long run in this book, that there was going to be a mass killing of cats somewhere along the line. Oh for crying out loud. Seriously? we’re still writing about how evil they are and that dogs are every body’s best friend and the champions against the dark witchcraft magic. Have we suddenly gone Middle Ages all over again? the animal cruelty (both for dogs and cats) was not necessary and this dogs vs cats thing was silly.

Let’s now talk about Rowan. She was all right. For a while. Until the story starts in her point of view. Then we get writing like this:

“No one answered it of course, until
(another weirdo)
the nurse Tula came down the hall”

WHY were her thoughts written this way??!!! WHY??? not only did this interrupt the flow of the story but it was very distracting and haphazard to read. It was so disruptive, it was almost as if these thoughts were interrupting the book itself. It made for very annoying reading.

Finally, we go to a chase scene, where it was going at least in a circle three times and it made the reading redundant and the last scene of the book felt so long to play out because of this. Although it was rather exciting to read, as the chase started getting longer, it started getting absurd.

This was certainly a book you can pass on. I expected so much more and it ended up falling short. It’s definitely not what I was hoping for.

I give it a 4/10

Airel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White

Airel First I’d have to say, isn’t the cover of this book ABSOLUTELY LOVELY? one of the best covers I have seen so far!

All Airel ever wanted to be was normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like sudden mysterious illness. Then there’s Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous…and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything she hopes for even now. Airel knew change would be inevitable as life went on. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed? (From Pump Up Your book tour page)

It was certainly a very interesting book, and had a lot of potential. I liked Airel. She had a very lively personality and seemed very likable from the start. Her comments and thoughts were at times, funny and witty. Plus the mystery behind the murder with Airel stuck in the middle was also quite interesting as well.

So, for me, the first third of the book was pretty good. Then we hit the parts taking place way back in ancient history in Arabia. Ok, I was able to read this. At first it was very awkward, but trying to find the connection was difficult as not many clues were given and you’re wondering what the heck does this have to do with Airel in the first place. I didn’t mind reading about Kreios. It certainly had a really good historical fantasy feel to it. There’s plenty of action in this part, but I can’t help but feel that sometimes it was a bit dry, and dragged through.

Then Airel meets Michael Alexander. They do seem to make a cute couple but their feelings between them just seem so artificial and you often stop and wonder if teens really act that way when they’re going out. From other young adult books I’ve read, Airel and Michael just don’t fit that mold. They just seem a little, well too perfect, and cliche. Although Michael does seem to be every girl’s dream come true for a boyfriend, there’s just something so robotic about him and you think to yourself; ‘wait a minute, guys don’t act like that!’ so even though it might have been nice to read about a couple that may act totally out of the norm, at least give it some realistic edges a bit, it just can’t be all rosy and lovey dovey all the time they’re together.

The ending took me by surprise, and thought it was a very interesting twist. However I just felt that to get to that great ending, I had to read through endless pages of plot that just did not sit well with me. It was a bit dry, and at times I thought, just a bit preachy when it came to learning where Airel was really from.

I think I’ll pass on this series. I felt bogged down by reading this and was forcing myself to finish. Although the ending felt like a great reward to putting up with the hundreds of pages of rather dry plot, I think although it had great ideas and plot elements, the whole putting it together could have been much better.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Review of Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland

Thank you Sourcebooks for providing me a copy of this book! I have this soft spot for these kinds of books. Plus I like zombies. Who doesn’t? honestly? 🙂

When little Alice follows the Black Rat down into the open grave, she falls and falls, and soon finds herself in an undead nightmare. Following the Rat, she ventures further into this land of monsters, encountering characters both creepy and madcap along the way. But there’s something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her? Have a seat at the table for the wildest tea party of your life and explore the unforgettable adventure that is Alice in Zombieland. (From Amazon.ca)

The book certainly had its’ fun moments! Zombieland was well written and well thought out. It certainly put a funny twist on Wonderland (even though Wonderland is quirky to begin with anyway). It’s definitely not for the squeamish, as body parts are flying everywhere and Alice gets a craving for a bite of flesh once very so often.  The characters are all there, they’re just zombified. The only difference I have seen is instead of a White Rabbit, you have a Black Rat instead. (If I am wrong, forgive me, it’s been a while since I’ve read the original Alice in Wonderland).

The zombie element does not really get in the way of the plot, so nothing much has really changed. My favorite moment was the croquet game between the Queen and Alice – it’s more of a croquet game with body parts which was laughable and was fun to read through.

Even though it was a fun idea, I felt like there just could have been more to this story. There just wasn’t enough to it that I could fully enjoy the book. To me, it felt as if they just copied and pasted the zombie bits of the story and added it to Alice in Wonderland, and just changed the title appropriately. It just felt like a very haphazard read.

Perhaps what I wanted to see was, a twist to the plot to enhance the zombie aspect of the novel. Not just zombies added. It did feel like all you got was a simple add on to the story (something similar to an expansion pack for a game). More could be done with the combination but sad to say, there really wasn’t anything to it.

It was a clever idea, and it had potential, but a lot more could have been done with this book. Instead, what you got was a few cut and paste moments of zombie goodness. Some parts were good and fun to read, but it just seemed to be lacking in something big to make this book exceptionally good and read worthy.

I give it a 4 out of 10.